IM4US SOLIDARITY STATEMENT
IM4US Calls for Justice and Action Against Systemic Racism And Police Violence
Integrative Medicine for the Underserved (IM4US) mourns for the lives of Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks, George Floyd, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, and thousands of others whose lives, dreams, and pursuits to fill their purpose have been robbed. Breonna Taylor was an EMT, aspiring to be a nurse, and we as a healthcare community have lost her. As integrative practitioners and advocates, we stand in solidarity to peacefully confront systemic racism and police violence. We affirm the rights of Black children and adults to live without fear of violence in their homes or in public spaces. We recognize that these killings, and police brutality in general, are part of the intersectional and systemic oppression of Black (and other communities of color) that stems from the genocide of Native Americans, the inception of slavery, xenophobia, white privilege, and colonization in this country and have manifested in our healthcare systems also.
As a multidisciplinary organization that looks at both root causes and manifestations, we recognize that the protests are taking place in the context of the global COVID-19 pandemic and highlight that the social determinants of health, systemic racism, and colorism are at the root of both violence and health inequalities. Last month, Reverend William Barber stated the pandemic has been “like a contrast dye that has swiftly run through our country’s veins and brightly illuminated the lethal health effects of inequality.” Rev. Barber is an organizer for the March Online Poor People’s Campaign on June 20, 2020.
As Dr. Cornell West stated, in the wake of George Floyd’s death, “We got a love that the world can’t take away…we cry because we care, we’re concerned… because we are not numb on the inside…we need Love Warriors.” We need to ensure that our voices are heard by engaging policy and systems change, voting and promoting awareness of biases to eliminate these disparities and inequities that we see in our communities on a daily basis. In their article, Stolen Breaths, Dr. Rachel Hardeman and colleagues lay out five practices to dismantle structural racism and improve the health and well-being of Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) and the United States as a whole. This week IM4US signed a statement opposing the police use of tear gas and other forms of force during protests. We encourage our community to address systemic racism, overt, and implicit bias by engaging in the practices Dr. Hardeman recommends and also in the following:
- Addressing police violence as a public health issue in our organizations and governments.
- Advocating for educational opportunities and employment of health care practitioners of color who can serve Black communities in culturally and structurally responsive ways and elevating the work of organizations led by practitioners of color including midwives, promotores, and others.
- Bringing awareness to our own biases.
Please share your feedback and ideas for participating in this social and racial justice work together.